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Reducing over consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia
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Reducing over consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia

Associate Professor Caroline Miller, Institution: University of Adelaide

2017 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2018-2021


Australians, particularly young Australians, drink sugary drinks in high quantities. These beverages (soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks) are high in added sugar, and also frequently salt. They contribute excess energy to the diet, cause obesity and diabetes, and increase cardiovascular risk factors.

Reducing consumption among children, adolescents and adults would improve the healthiness of their diets and help protect them from weight gain and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Poor diet (including excess consumption of sugary drinks) and overweight/obesity are important risk factors for CVD, and are overtaking smoking as Australia’s leading burdens of all preventable disease. There is an urgent need to find effective interventions to address this.

Australia is a world-leader in tobacco control and now has among the lowest rates of smoking in the world, among adults and adolescents. Critically, tobacco control identified smoking as more than a purely clinical/individual issue but rather as a public health problem requiring a public health response. Many lessons learned in reducing smoking may be applied to over-consumption of unhealthy food and beverages.

This project is part of a program of work applying the science and lessons from tobacco control to sugary drink over-consumption. Internationally, health agencies are investigating and implementing a range of interventions, including educative and regulatory measures.

Clear and concise labelling on sugary drinks to help consumers make healthier, more informed decisions, is one such regulatory measure of international interest. This study aims to test the potential effectiveness of consumer information/warning labels on drink containers with parents, adolescents and adults in Australia. It will provide evidence of direct relevance to the Australian policy context.

This project is co-funded with NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council.

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